Thursday, May 26, 2005

The best news show on television

My favorite journalist now has a show on PBS. Foreign Exchange with Fareed Zakaria | Where America Meets the World is just as smart and suave as the host himself. Zakaria is an editor at Newsweek, is a regular guest on This Week with George Stephanopoulis, and was Editor-in-Chief at Foreign Affairs. He also wrote the book The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad which should be read by anybody who believes in liberty (or doesn't yet).

It's odd, yet refreshing to see interviews in which the host is smarter than the guest experts. The show is like a TV version of an article in The Economist; it has great depth and breadth, yet it's brisk and polished. Television journalism desperately needed something like this. Most national news shows on TV fit one or more of the following categories:

1. An excuse for a pig-headed conservative and a strident, whiny liberal to yell at each other (O'Reilly Factor, Hannity and Colmes, Crossfire).
2. An excuse for newsmakers to swing at thoughtless softballs (Larry King)
3. An excuse for policy makers to get their message out (Meet the Press, Face the Nation)
4. Lowest-common-denominator attempts to exploit the fears and worries of "average Americans" (Dateline)
5. An excuse to air whatever the most eye-grabbing footage of whatever the day's biggest headlines are (Nightline)

Even the News Hour, which was probably the best until Zakaria's show came along, is quite flawed. It's very dull, and often falls into the #3 problem above.

In Foreign Affairs with Fareed Zakaria, the arguments are strong, but the tone is civil. The show credits the viewer to be someone who can comprehend complex points. At the same time it has some serious production value, without being garish like Fox News. This show finally proves that you don't have to be dowdy to be smart, and you don't have to be simple-minded to be accessible. I hope young people especially will tune in to this show. And I hope more TV news shows will try to emulate it.

All 8 of the weekly shows broadcast thus far can be seen on the web site (see link above).


At 2:20 PM, Blogger The Ascetic Crusader said...

Read Fareed Zacharia┬┤s Bin Laden
and Al Queada articles.

The guy should be deported on the spot. No jury, no trial.

check out my blog :

At 6:52 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

I see nothing in Zakaria's famous post-9/11 articles but reason, pragmatism, and humanity. "Deporting" him would be a great loss to American media.


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